ARCHIVE OF JACOB BESER, RADAR SPECIALIST ON BOARD THE ENOLA GAY AND BOCKS CAR.
Lt. Jacob Beser was the radar specialist aboard the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945, when the Little Boy atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and also aboard the Bocks Car on August 9, 1945, when the fat man bomb was dropped over Nagasaki. He is the only person to crew both missions, and often liked to say that he was chosen for the program not because he was particularly talented, but because he was expendable. Besers job was to monitor the fuse device that set off the bombs, not only igniting them at the appropriate time, but making sure other radar transmissions didnt inadvertently set them off prematurely. In a 1991 interview, Beser described how the second mission was fraught with problems, and the team was unable to reach its primary target of Kokura. It was Beser who suggested the secondary target of Nagasaki.
This lot features a large collection of manuscripts and memorabilia of Jacob Besers military career, including items that were with him on board the Enola Gay and Bocks Car. Highlights include:
1. Cloth map. AAF Cloth Chart No. C-52 / Japan and South China Seas. Washington, DC: Army Map Service, February 1945. Double sided map printed in color, 830 by 783 mm. Folded, in original plastic carrying case. Carried by Beser on board the Enola Gay.
2. Military aviators throat microphone, black plastic, leather, and fabric. Used by Beser on board the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945.
3. Metal clipboard, 9 by 12 ¾ inches, of metal and wood with spring action, painted olive green with R.C.M. in white paint on verso, carried by Jacob Beser on board the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945. R.C.M. stands for radio counter measures, Besers job title.
4. Military ID card of 1st Lieutenant Jacob Beser, 4 by 2 7/8 inches, issued by the War Department, September 26, 1944 with black and white photo on recto, fingerprints on verso, cancelled. In leatherette wallet with Besers eligibility certificate, physical record card, immunization card, and pay date card. Carried by Beser during the Enola Gay and Bocks Car missions.
5. Small collection of screws, nuts, bolts, and clamps removed from the Enola Gay by Besers wife, encased in two polyurethane blocks, one with photo of Mrs. Beser removing parts from plane.
6. 3 Documents Signed of L.L. Judge, 3 pp, folio, Washington, August 16, 1949, being the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Silver Star certificates awarded to First Lieutenant Jacob Beser for his participation in the aerial events of August 6 and August 9, 1945, toning to all pages. Together with a printed certificate of appreciation from General H.H. Hap Arnold, Besers 1946 commission as First Lieutenant, and 2 USAAF Technical School diplomas awarded to Beser.
7. War Training Book WTB-20: Preliminary Reference Manual for SCR-520-B Equipment (D 150688 Radio Ranging Equipment). Np: Bell Telephone Laboratories School for War Training, n.d. In black wraps with staple binding. * Preliminary Instruction Manual AN/APQ-5. Boca Raton: Technical School AAFETTC, n.d. Marked Confidential. In gray wraps with staple binding. With Besers ownership signature to upper left. * Circuits & Illustrations AN/APQ-13. Boca Raton: Academic Training Literature Reproduction, n.y. Stamped confidential, marked through and noted restricted. In gray wraps with staple binding, Besers ownership signature to upper left.
8. Wood and metal military footlocker, 30 1/2 x 16 3/4 x 13 1/2 inches, painted olive drab green with "1ST LT. JACOB BESER / 0855461 14517-A" stenciled in white on three sides, used by Beser during his military career. The trunk contains a short sleeved military shirt, Air Force Patches on each shoulder, and two tan canvas military belts.
This lot also contains a draft of Besers book, Hiroshima and Nagasaki Revisited, two drafts of the teleplay based on Besers book, and other material relating to the 1980 TV movie, Enola Gay; plus other material relating to Besers career before and after his wartime service. Present also is a letter from Besers son, Jerry Beser, identifying all the material in the lot and certifying its provenance.